GMB meeting with East Sussex NHS Trust fails to find agrement over excessive staff parking increases
GMB meeting with east Sussex BNHS Hospital Trust Chief Executive Adrian Bull fails to find agreement over excessive staff parking increases. We must not just accept the Trust’s fait accompli approach to all matters dealing with workforce issues, says GMB Southern
- GMB, the union for all frontline nursing staff and NHS support services, have met with East Sussex NHS Hospital Trust Chief Exec Adrian Bull and the Trust HR department, but were unable to find an agreement over unfair parking Increases for Trust staff. [See notes to editors for previous GMB press release]
The meeting came after hospital staff found that since being misinformed about their NHS pay increase, that the Trust parking charge increases will leave them worse off on a month by month basis. However, Chief Exec Dr Bull still insists that the increase is the right thing to do and informed GMB that public parking charges are now to increase at Hastings and Eastbourne hospitals.
Although sympathetic to the feelings of the huge numbers of staff, Dr Bull said that those with cars who drive to work must take responsibility and accept all the costs and increases that doing so involves. It was felt that it was only a minimal increase but might encourage staff to consider walking to work or car sharing.
The Chief Exec did not disagree with the GMB who have seen a publicly available FOI on public parking charges at the Trust from 2016/17. This saw the trust, who levy and operate their own on-site parking, gain an income of £1,472,069 which after a deduction for expenditure of £229,343 saw remaining income of £1,242,726 returned directly to the Trust.
Dr Bull also informed GMB that the Trust intend to increase public parking charges as well as remaining resolute in seeing an increase for the second time to staff parking charges in April 2019.
GMB have now requested their own FOI’s over a three-year period, plus a breakdown of the direct investment in the on-site staff car parking improvements and developments over the same period. The Trust states this as one of the rationales for the current increases, along with developing greener and healthy modes of transport for people to get to work.
GMB union staff have called for 12-2pm lunch time demos on 4 September at Eastbourne District General Hospital, Kings Dr, Eastbourne BN21 2UD and 5 September at Hastings Conquest Hospital, The Ridge, Hastings, Saint Leonards-on-sea TN37 7RD and are also calling on people to sign the online petition at https://chn.ge/2Md28Vo to help push the case for hard pressed, under paid NHS staff to be treated more fairly by ESHT when choosing to drive and park at work.
Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser said:
"I’d like to say I was shocked by the Chief Exec’s lack of interest and understanding at our meeting in regard to the effects that the severe Trust staff car parking increases have had upon staff struggling even more to make ends meet after the recent poor NHS pay rise, but unfortunately I wasn’t.
"There were any number of poorly judged assumptions on the personal circumstances, lifestyles, care responsibilities and financial position of staff working at both acute sites made by Dr Bull and his management team of being able to either easily absorb high parking hikes or simply change the way they travel to work. They hope this will provide the Trust with additional empty staff parking capacity to transfer over to public parking to make even more money.
"Instead, based on his starting point that he has received complaints that some staff at the DGH and Conquest Hospitals are stressed when struggling to find places to park in and around the acute sites currently, the approach appears to be one of simply instead stressing a much larger group of employees by inflating the cost of parking extortionately. He claimed that if they can afford a car they can afford to park it even with such an increase in place.
"I’m not sure our members will agree that 66% and 100% over two years parking increases are small but I guess when you’re on a Chief Exec salary you see things differently!
"The Trust, who currently remain in financial special measures, were recently informed by NHS Improvements that they 'must make rapid progress to strengthen its finances' so it appears that the intention to do so will be at the expense of staff and the public. A further increase in public parking charges over the coming months at both sites and implementing stage two of the staff increase next in April means our members and Trust staff are concerned that Dr Bull and the Trust’s running of the staff and public parking charges as a pure cash cow.
"To reduce that financial deficit in the way they are is bordering on immoral, especially if the charge increases are to cover successive poor financial managerial decisions in the past, and lands on the backs of those needing to park at the hospitals for either work purposes or when using the hospitals when seeking treatment or visiting family.
"We must not just accept the Trust’s fait accompli approach to all matters dealing with workforce issues and despite the lack of support from other ESHT staff side associations on this matter, GMB will press on making representation against current and any further increases on staff parking.
"I’m hoping that the petition of currently over 1100 signatory’s or 20% of the Trust workforce across the two sites will continue to grow and that people will take time out from their busy working day to support the demo’s outside the hospitals on 4 and 5 September and any further planned escalation going forward in seeking a better solution from the Trust in this matter."
Contact: Gary Palmer 07552 165 950 or Mark Turner GMB Branch Secretary 07860 787 973 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114 762
Notes to Editors
Previous GMB Press Release
"GMB announce lunchtime demos to reverse East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust parking charge increases" (16 August 2019)